BY JEFF FALK
PALMYRA – We’re all counting down the days, looking forward to spring. But some of us are anticipating it more than others.
The Palmyra baseball team, for instance, will have a lot to play for this spring.
On the recent National Signing Day, the Cougars had no less than three seniors commit to NCAA Universities. Outfielder Preston Bare committed to Division One Longwood University in Virginia, infielder Mike Fuhrman selected Division One Niagara in New York and catcher Colby Conway chose Mount Olive, a North Carolina Division Two institution that also produced his high school head coach, Tim Gingrich.
“It’s probably tied with the state championship team I had in 1999,” said Gingrich of the Cougars’ committed college talent. “This group could be even more deeper because we have some kids who haven’t decided about college yet. There’s one or two seniors who could go play somewhere.”
At least part of the intrigue of this particular Wednesday centered around the curiosity of Bare signing his national letter-of-intent. The 6-0, 200-pound speedster had rushed for over 2,200 yards for the Cougar football squad this fall and was named first-team all-state in the sport.
But ultimately his passion for our nation’s past time won out. A hard-worker in the weight room, batting cage and the class room, Bare carries a .391 career batting average into his senior campaign, as well as 86 RBIs in 70 games.
“What I’m most proud of is that what I have been preaching to them about committment and hard work has paid off for them in the long run,” said Gingrich. “I’m just so happy for them. They’ve done a great job.”
With a .457 average, Fuhrman will be Palmyra’s top returning hitter this spring. Fuhramn, who boasts a 3.92 grade-point average, was a key cog in the Cougars’ boys’ soccer team’s drive to District Three Class AA silver.
Conway, also a sparkplug on the Cougar boys’ basketball team, is described as a born leader. A great defensive catcher, Conway will pursue a degree in communications at Mount Olive.